I received this book for free from the library in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.
This erotic romance was published by Harlequin Spice on August 1, 2010 and has 382 pages.
Explore it on Goodreads or Amazon.
Other books by this author include Tempted, Precious and Fragile Things, Broken, Three to Tango, The Space Between Us, Vanilla, An Erotic Collection Volume 1
Second in the Alex Kennedy erotic romance series and revolving around a very bad boy who swings both ways. The couple focus is on Alex Kennedy and Olivia Mackey and is set in Pennsylvania.
I was anxious to read this story after having read Hart’s Vanilla. I wanted to know how Alex hooked up with Olivia. And hear more about all those innuendos that Alex was tossing around in Vanilla, an *ahem with a grin*.
It’s insta-love and yet not. They’re attracted to each other, but Olivia is wary and Alex is scared but serious. I love how their friendship and then their sexual relationship develops. Dang, Hart is good.
I missed that Olivia was still so much in love with Patrick. I wish Hart had been a touch more obvious there. I suspect part of my distraction was what a jerk Patrick was being.
I adore Olivia. She’s upfront about almost everything — there’s just that one thing she needs to come clean about. She’s comfortable with herself, as is Alex. A good message for anyone.
Olivia is upfront about her religious and color issues, and Hart writes this well enough to make me blush for how rude people can be. I do love that her adoptive family adored her so much. I would hope that every other adopted child out there would have a family as accepting as the Mackeys. Yeah, they have their issues, but they’re family issues. Lol, that scene in which Olivia describes discovering she was “black” was hysterical — in both good and bad ways. I can’t help loving that I never get a sense of race in Olivia’s interactions with her family. Although, now that her mother has embraced Orthodox Judaism, she sounds like she’s turned into a jerk herself, too concerned about her own wants and desires than her daughter’s.
Wow. Alex is a major jerkwad, but he is honest. You want to hate him for being too honest, too cruel, but you can’t help wanting him from Hart’s description. Hart did confuse me on his wealth. If he’s this rich, why is he slumming it? Moving from couch to couch over the past few years? I inferred (a lot) that maybe Alex was still affected by his family’s social level and that maybe this was why he was so low-key? I wish that Hart had slipped in a reference to why he lives this way. Then there are his unexpected responses. They’re not what you (or Olivia!) expect from a guy, and it throws you off just before you melt.
Being so damned pretty can be a disadvantage, “for one thing, everyone assumes you already have plans when you don’t, so hardly anybody ever invites you places.”
Oh, man. Olivia lives in an old firehouse. I am so jealous!
It’s a pivotal few months in Olivia’s life as she comes to see the truth about Patrick. It’s not pretty. I can’t believe Patrick can’t see what he’s doing? He’s such a hypocrite. Why doesn’t Teddy see this?
Olivia’s camera is such a useful symbol in this that Hart uses in multiple ways: voyeur, a shield against uncomfortable feelings, a permission to intrude, realizing a truth, intention, combined with all that Olivia reads in Alex’s eyes.
There are tense moments that I think Hart avoids. I don’t know if her intention was to keep the story level, to stay within a page count, or if she simply didn’t want to delve into those emotions. I also want to know who the shadowy “lady” is who is mentioned a few times. Why does Olivia go off on Alex drinking and smoking a joint? I can understand her wondering, but not to the extent of the excessive reaction she has. That last scene in which Olivia is so angry about Anne and Jamie. One, I’d be angrier about Alex’s running off to play than what Olivia learns about Anne and Jamie. And Cam. But then there’s her sudden flip when Alex tells her she doesn’t have to choose. I don’t get that. It’s too quick, too easy.
The meet-the-parents events are…enlightening. Alex’s father makes Olivia’s mother look great.
This is fun, introspective, and a great read.
It’s Patrick’s Christmas party where Olivia first sees Alex, but she’s had her experiences with gay boys. Never again. Except Patrick laying down his law gets Olivia irritated, well, that and the fact that Alex has a very nice butt.
Olivia Mackey is a photographer struggling to build her graphic design business, supplementing her start with taking school and team photos and Foto Folks. Half-black, half-white, Olivia was adopted by a white half-Jewish, half-Catholic family and is torn by too many competing cultures. Pippa is her unexpected daughter, but her “real” parents are the adorable Devon and slightly suspicious Steven.
Her father is Catholic (his new wife is Marjorie with her own daughters, Cindy and Stacy), her mother is Jewish (her new husband is Chaim Kaplan) and recently embraced the stricter forms of Judaism, and Bert is one of Olivia’s two brothers.
Alex Kennedy is H.O.T. and cruel. Since he sold his company in Tempted, 1, he’s been working as an international consultant. Jamie Kinney is Alex’s best friend; Anne is his wife. They have a son, Cam, who looks a lot like Alex. We first met them in “Tempted and Everything Changes“, 1.5. Claire is Anne’s sister, and she’s married to Dean. Penny is their daughter. His family includes his parents, the vicious, abusive John and Jolene, and his sisters: Tanya, Johanna, and Denise and their assorted children who include Trina.
Sarah Roth is Olivia’s best friend, honest, understanding, and unwavering. Jack is the man Sarah is caught up in, but he comes with some unique issues.
Patrick McDonald was her fiancée back in college. Before he came out two weeks before their wedding. Now he works for Quinto and Bates as a lawyer. Sean is Patrick’s brother with an interest in Olivia. Teddy has been Patrick’s partner for some time. Teddy has a sister Susan with a teenage son, Jayden.
Jerald is another of Patrick’s friends and has done modeling for Olivia. Nadia is Patrick’s neighbor, and Carlos is her boyfriend. Evan was the man on his knees at Patrick’s party.
Scott Church is a famous photographer who does workshops. Sarene is his assistant.
Desiree Johnson was the first black girl Olivia met. Miss Dippold was her second grade teacher. Father Matthew is the priest at St. Paul’s. Rabbi Levin is with Congregation Ahavat Shalom and has a nice attitude about blending the secular and the religious. Maybe he could talk to her mom! Gretchen is a Mennonite who wants a boudoir picture like her sister Helen’s. Mindy is one of Olivia’s coworkers at Foto Flash. Lyle Cullen runs a camera shop. Leah is a friend of Pippa’s, and her dads are Chad Kavanagh and Luke. Elle Stewart is his sister and Jewish; Dan is her husband. Dotty is Dan’s mother. Guests at Passover include Marcy and Wayne; Elle’s mother; and, Chad, Luke, and Leah.
Tovi and Reuben are friends of her mother and her husband.
The Cover and Title
The cover background is a rumpled white sheet with Olivia lying upside down and wearing white boyshorts and Alex’s white shirt, strategically buttoned. The naked Alex is visible from the middle of his back. He’s lying vertically and opposite Olivia. It’s sweet with their heads together, Alex kissing Olivia’s neck, her head tilted and her multitude of braids in a tangle over his arm.
The title is what happens to both Alex and Olivia. They strip down and get Naked with who they are as individuals and as a couple.